FILM RATING: 3 stars
Ever since I first saw the movie poster for The Killer Inside Me (2010), I’ve wanted to check out the film. The poster is a great blend of graphics and photography with a retro dramatic twist. This is one of my favorite movie poster designs in recent years. It made me think of David Fincher’s perfect serial killer film Se7en (1995). I’m also a fan of director Michael Winterbottom and his film The Claim (2000), so that was another thing that drew me to this movie. But having seen The Killer Inside Me on Showtime HD today, I feel it’s a mixed bag as a movie. I give it 3 stars out of 5, mostly because the acting, production design and cinematography are top notch and deserve the bump up from 2.5 stars that I initially felt the film deserved. Warning: This film is brutally violent at times and is not for those who can’t handle the graphic portrayal of a psycho killer.
The story and characters in this movie just didn’t connect with me…even though they tried and tried to get inside me. I read someone’s review of the film and they felt that the story is told from the point of view of the psychotic killer that it is about, with mixed emotions, mixed thoughts, etc. While I respect and understand that choice by the writers and the director, assuming that they chose it, it just didn’t work as well as I think it could have. I think what’s missing is something that emotionally pulls the viewer into the killer’s mindset and helps us understand what’s going on in his head that causes his gradual and yet abrupt “psychotic snap”. Maybe more flashbacks to his childhood past that show why he is a killer inside. Winterbottom uses voiceover narration by Casey Affleck’s character Lou Ford to help get us into his mindset, but the narrative is so flat that it just doesn’t work. I was left wanting to know more about how Lou got to this point in his life. But instead, it ended just as it started…abruptly. The ending of the movie didin’t quite work for me either. It wants to be a “twist” ending that thrills you, but it just didn’t…even though it did surprise me.
What I will give this film props for is its awesome production design by Mark Tildesley. There’s no question we are back in the dusty past of West Texas. The sets and locations feel genuine and right for the story. Lou’s house is a great specimen of Western U.S. craftsman architecture. I also loved Marcel Zyskind’s photography for the film. While not flashy or gorgeous, it was stylish and had this sun-bleached look to it like West Texas itself has.
Casey Affleck continues his recent streak of great acting gigs, following in the footsteps of his good performances in Gone Baby Gone (2007), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), and The Last Kiss (2006). But of course I will always think of his work in Good Will Hunting (1997) first and foremost, since that is where I was introduced to him and his brother Ben.
While The Killer Inside Me is not a classic “killer” film like Se7en (1995), No Country For Old Men (2007), The Cell (2000), Fracture (2004), Kiss The Girls (1997), Insomnia (2002), or The Silence of the Lambs (1991), it’s still worthy of viewing at least once to appreciate it for its cinematic craftsmanship.